Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Book Alert: The Parker Inheritance

Over Christmas I received some gift cards for books, which I decided to use to preorder a variety of new books I was excited about. Now as they randomly arrive, it's like a surprise Christmas every time!

The Parker Inheritance (2018) by Varian Johnson is an instant middle grade classic. In the style of The Westing Game (and with direct references to the book by the characters), main character Candice and new friend Brandon find themselves involved in a mysterious quest to uncover their town's history ... and a possible fortune!

The story switches between the present-day timeline and the 1950s, as the two discover more about the events that took place in their town during that time, which culminated in a racially-charged incident focused around a tennis match between the all-white and all-black high schools.

There is so much to love about this book. The mystery and adventure angle will draw in plenty of readers who might not immediately be interested in a work of historical fiction, while the history and Civil Rights angle will interest others. Diversity and inclusion are written into the fabric of the story two, as the modern-day kids need to grapple with how the racism and bigotry of the recent past still affects the present.

This also one of the few children's books I've read that directly introduces the idea of "colorism" (though not the term) to readers. Not only are the characters dealing with issues related to racism, but the specific color and tone of their skin comes into play as well. This is a book sure to generate a lot of thoughtful conversations and questions from readers.

A must-buy for any middle grade or middle school reader!

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